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Sicily Travel Guide: Tips for Smart Planning

The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily located on Italy’s boot, hides many beautiful places.

I bet you want to know more things about Sicily so you can better plan your trip and not miss any important attractions.

Sicily is a pretty small island so covering all the major attractions might be a little bit challenging and tiring.

sicily what to visit

But with smart planning and knowing in advance exactly what you want to see and where each of the attractions is located, visiting Sicily will become something very accessible.

Sicily what to visit Mount Etna Italy

Sicily Mount Etna Italy

I will list below the main attractions from the island, but besides these ones there are many other beautiful villages and natural wonders waiting to be discovered.

1. Taormina

By far one of the most popular places to visit when in Sicily, Taormina is a beautiful town located right on the Mount Etna foot.

The town is full of ancient ruins and restored medieval buildings. It has many bars and restaurants with a typical Italian atmosphere.

The centrepiece of the town is Teatro Greco, a beautiful ruin which lies on top of a hill dating from the 3rd century.

Taormina Sicily Town Italy

Taormina Sicily Town Italy

The views of the theatre are stunning! For incredible photos of the place, with Mount Etna in the background and the sun setting up we advise you to visit this theatre at sunset time!

We get from here one of the most beautiful photos of the entire holiday!

Where to sleep

Our choice for this wonderful city is Voi Grand Hotel Mazzaro Sea Palace Sicily Taormina . This 5 stars resort is located right near Mazzaro beach and the cable car which takes you to Taormina city centre.

The hotel has a wonderful sea view pool, a wellness and a spa centre where you can chill after a beautiful day on the island.

2. Siracusa or Syracuse

Like Taormina, small town of Syracuse is also full of ancient ruins and beautiful medieval buildings.

Greek and Roman ruins can be found almost everywhere within the city, but the main attraction of the place is the Greek theatre built in the 5th century BC. Around Syracuse you will find many Unesco World Heritage sites.

Besides this perfectly preserved theatre, there is also the “Ear of Dionysius” which is a cave carved famous for its acoustic properties, that amplify the sounds so that even the quietest sounds hear very loud.

Ortigia Italy Syracuse

Ortigia Italy Syracuse

And the last, but not least, on my list when in Siracusa is the Catacombs of San Giovanni.

This is a huge excavation made underneath the city somewhere between 320 and 360 A.D. and which was used until the end of the 5th century, which exposed many archeological sites.

While in Syracuse stop by and visit Ortigia, a small island, the heart of Siracusa town. The place is full of bars and has a very vibrant nightlife.

Where to sleep

Hotel Borgo Pantano Siracusa is our choice for Syracuse. It is a wonderful hotel located outside the city with wonderful views over the countryside and a wonderful outdoor swimming pool.

What I liked most at this hotel besides the view and the services is that they serve for breakfast homemade pastry and fresh Sicilian orange juice.

3. Palermo

The next on our Sicily what to visit list is Palermo. This is the capital’s island, a big and beautiful city located on the northern part of the island.

It is a place which remained unchanged over the years with many interesting buildings and ancient ruins.

It has some of the most ancient greek sites as Phoenicians used to live here, until the Greeks colonized Sicily.

Palazzo dei Normanni, Teatro Massimo and the catacombs are the most important places to visit when in Palermo.

There are many nature reserves close to Palermo if you wish to explore them and not go too far outside the city. One of the most famous is Zingaro nature reserve which you should have on your list.

Palermo Sicily Italy - Sicily what to visit

Palermo Sicily Italy

Besides these famous ones, there are many other interesting sights and picturesque places to visit not just inside the tour but also in the area nearby.

The city of Monreale with its imposing cathedral is just an example of what you can see in the Palermo metropolitan area.


Palermo street Italy Sicily placest to visit

Palermo street Italy

What to eat

Palermo is famous throughout Italy for its delicious street food, so you should definitely try it while you are here.

Sicily is known worldwide for the tasty sicily oranges from which you can make the most tasty orange juice fresh, so don’t miss this either while still here.

Where to sleep

Our suggestion for Palermo is Hotel Principe Di Villafranca Palermo .

This is a very fancy boutique hotel located in the heart of Palermo, close to restaurants and bars and a few minutes away from Palermo’s main attractions.

4. The Aeolian Islands

The Aeolian Islands are a great option when in Sicily.

Grab a pen and write this destination on your list right now!

Located in the northern part of Sicily, the Aeolian Islands are the perfect destination for a day trip.

It is a group of 7 islands, mostly untouched and without any touristy influences but with very deep roots in history and legends.

The Aeolian Islands Lipari Island

The Aeolian Islands Lipari Island


Milazzo is the port from where you can take the ferry from Sicily to each of the 7th islands from the Aeolian group.

Each of the 7 islands is unique and extremely beautiful!

The best way to explore these islands is to take the ferry from one island to another and then rent a scooter to explore each island.

This is the fastest and cheapest way to see the beauty of each island! You might find many hidden beaches with white sand and amazing scenery on your journey!

The Aeolian Islands Vulcano Island

The Aeolian Islands Vulcano Island

We did so and I must tell you it was one of the best day trips we ‘ve had in Sicily!

Where to sleep

Eolian Milazzo Hotel Aeolian Island is our option for Milazzo, the place from where you take the ferry to the Aeolian Islands.

The hotel is located just 200 metres away from the beach and 1.4 kilometres from Milazzo Harbour.

It is a clean and modern hotel with 2 wonderful outdoor pools and a sea view terrace with sunbeds and umbrellas.

5. Mount Etna

The highest volcano of Europe, Mount Etna should be on your Sicily what to visit list.

It is a natural wonder and a unique opportunity to climb up to the summit on the tallest active volcano from Europe.

It is the centrepiece of the southern part of the island, being visible from miles away.

Sicily Italy mount Etna

Sicily Italy mount Etna


Mount Etna is the perfect destination for a day trip from Catania or Taormina.

Rent a car and explore the island

Get organised so you have time to climb this amazing volcano in one day.

Get the best price for your car rental today

Etna South

Head up to Etna South and take a walk along the old craters of the volcano or if you are not in the mood for walking then take the cable car up to 2.900 metres.

Once you reach the top you can take a complete tour of the summit. You will need somewhere between 2 to 4 hours for a complete tour.

Etna North

Is North more convenient for you ?

No worries, you can take a 4X4 bus which leads you up to 2.400 metres and you can walk around the craters from that altitude.

No matter which trail and starting point you choose to try, don’t go on Etna’s main craters without a qualified guide, it is too dangerous and risky!

Valley of the Temples

The Valley of the temples is located not far from Mount Etna.

So if you have an extra day to explore the southern coast, consider visiting some Unesco World Heritage sites, Villa Romana Del Casale should be on your list if you go there.

It is a great example of a Roman villa with a unique mosaic floor, built around 3rd – 4th century BC.

Where to sleep

Monaci Delle Terre Nere Mt Etna is our suggestion for your trip to Mount Etna.

This wonderful 5 stars hotel is located just 13 kilometres away from Mount Etna in a former winery in the middle of a vineyard plantation.

The elegant rooms of the hotel have exposed stone walls and wood-beamed ceilings.

From the balcony or patio of your room, you can admire the vineyard, the sea or Mount Etna.

Mount Etna Sicily Volcano Italy

Mount Etna Sicily Volcano Italy


Now you know why Sicily is such a great place for your holiday!

In one place you can find everything you could wish for: beautiful beaches, amazing towns, ancient ruins and the highest volcano in Europe!

Pack your bags and hit the road!

Sicily what to visit list is all you need for a wonderful holiday!